I can remember a time, not too long ago, when I didn't take much of anything very seriously. Then somewhere along the line, probably around the time I was getting the metaphorical crap kicked out of my emotions, I started taking everything so very seriously indeed. Of course, it wasn't as if I couldn't or didn't laugh. I laughed and still do laugh a lot. And easily. But for some reason I got all serious about myself.

And I think that's bulljive.

Sometimes I laugh about how ridiculous life is. I think I used to think it was much more funny than I do now, but every once and awhile I have one of those epiphanies where it dawns on me, only for a moment, how silly everything is. They usually brighten my day. So my goal now is to live in that epiphany. Numero Uno Priority-o: Remember that life is funny, in a very ironic sort of way.

Henceforth, I am going to be making a conscious effort to not take myself seriously anymore. It's boring, it's depressing, and it ruins everything -- as far as I'm concerned. If you can't laugh at how ridiculous your are (and by 'you' I mean 'me'), what can you laugh at? (Well, besides people tripping and trying to pretend they didn't...now that's funny.)

All through the day on Saturday I just had this feeling welling up in my throat to cry. I don't even know what about, just that I wanted to cry. I think it's been a build up of a million things and since today is a day off, not having to think about anything sort of felt like letting a wall down. I actually felt like Edward Norton in Fight Club, where at the beginning he talks about going to these meetings for all sorts of people -- addicts, the terminally ill, etc -- just so he could have a good cry.

But I didn't actually cry. I don't know why. A lot of the time I find it hard to cry. Unless it's something specifically sad and I'm not in front of people. I think it's because I'm not good at being vulnerable. For a long time I didn't think it was very 'masculine' to cry, that guys just don't do that sort of thing. Girls, sure -- go ahead and cry at that movie and we guys will be stoned face and give you a hug and be the strong, silent protector. Weakness is bad. Maintain defenses at all times.

That may seem odd, especially coming from me, because I've never been a "guy's guy" -- I'm not into sports, I don't particularly like maggots and other slimy things, and I don't enjoy the taste of beer (or 'Expensive Urine' as I prefer to call it). So being 'tough' might seem like an odd goal for a guy like to me to strive for. I think, though, those reasons were why I always wanted to be tough -- or at least strong and self-confident. To be a guy who doesn't like sports and feels like crying isn't much o' a good combination. I've always been terrified of being over-feminine. For one thing, I don't think it's healthy, and two, I don't think that's how God wants us to be -- he created two genders for a reason.

But I think it comes down to being confused about what a real man is. It seems to go in extremes -- you're either a big tough guy who prefers alcohol to water (or would at least prefer an amalgamation of the two) or a girl. There's no middle ground, no other definition of a "man". Or so I've been led to believe.

I know being vulnerable has always been an issue for me. Somewhere early on in High School I swore off swimming. The last time I can actually remember being submerged in water was in El Salvador, just before we came home -- we had an R & R day and we went into the Ocean. Even then I can remember feeling apprehensive about it, but I figured, heck, this was a once in a lifetime thing. So I threw caution to the wind and jumped in. But that was the last time. And that was when I was 16 -- 6 years ago. Since then I've repeatedly told people I don't like to swim -- and while there is truth in that, I don't say it the way I mean it. I actually love swimming. I have great memories of it (I even threw up in a wave pool once! Wahoo!). But what I don't like about swimming is the idea of me taking off my shirt and jumping into a pool full of people (or even a couple of people). It's like asking me to run naked through a church during a funeral.

It's pretty bad too. Even with my roommates at college, I'd never take off my shirt in front of them. I got bugged about it a few times, but I preferred to be bugged about that then what I feared I'd be bugged about if I did take my shirt off. But it's just that -- being vulnerable. I hide behind clothes, or I at least try to. Without them I've got no protection, no defenses. I find that...very uncomfortable.

I hide behind a lot of things, I think. It's a safety thing. Being defenseless, out in the open without something to protect myself with, is terrifying. I think that is why being close to people is such a scary thing for me. There is a point in every relationship I start with people where I have these sirens going off in my head telling me to pull back, pull out, jump ship, abandon my post -- just salvage what's left and run for my life. I don't enjoy those sirens. I don't enjoy a compulsive desire for safety. And I've become convinced there is no real solution either. It's like anything else in life, most obviously fear -- there is nothing else to do but face it and keep going. When I hear those alarms in my head going off, I just have to ignore them. I'm obviously going to be facing the same situation, and therefore hear the same warning bells, my entire life, so there is no use cowering under a rock. But man if it isn't hard.

I've always wondered why God lets us go through some things and others go through other things and then still others, other things. We're all so different, and our uniqueness goes beyond simply our looks to even our personal demons. I suppose those issues are part of what makes us so unique -- how we respond, how we work through them, how we choose to reveal them (or not reveal them). These things are part of what make us who we are. I suppose that offers some comfort to me, but it doesn't make the actual act of overcoming them any more enjoyable.

But who said life guaranteed enjoyment?

It's true. It was on TV.

Click here to see what really went down.

Welcome to the planet. Welcome to existence. Everyone's here.
Welcome to the fallout. Welcome to resistance. The tension is here, between who you are and who you could be, between how it is and how it should be.
(Switchfoot, Dare You To Move)

What is it about having a good week that makes it mandatory it will be followed by a crappy one? It seems to me that whenever I feel good, I have a hard time enjoying it because I know it is only temporary. Is it just me who has these "swings" of feelings? Most of the time I feel bi-polar (but having known people who actually are, I know that I'm not) -- I hate it. I suppose in all fairness it's just a part of being a human being. Good days and bad ones.

But I don't even feel like I'm having a "bad" day/week. It's just blah. It's just time. Empty time. I hate feeling like I'm lost. Like my life is a forest and there's no path to follow, no clearing in the trees, no signs to tell me the better way to take. It's all dark, thick woods and most of the time when I feel like I've found a good trail, I meet a dead end -- or a large, angry grizzly bear. Is life all about survival? About being lost but pretending you aren't? You know, someone sees you wandering around, so you try to make it seem like you're actually just 'casually strolling', enjoying yourself?

'Yet this'...

I'm trying to remember that. That everything in life rests on God. The second I take my dependence off of Him, as soon as I lose my focus, and I put it all on something else, I realize how empty and unfulfilling it is. God can be Only goal, my Only focus, my Only desire. Everything is dust. Everything else is empty, meaningless, temporary. Even my good days -- even they can't be the objects of my affection. Because they come and they go. People come and they go. Money comes and it goes. Success comes and it goes. Yet God always remains. Why do I have such a hard time with that?

There are a few things in life that make me furious, and infidelity in marriage is at the top of my list.

I was at work last night, and on my lunch break I was reading the newspaper and I came across one of those "Dear Abby" type columns, where someone writes in and the wise old (paid) sage gives advice. Well in this issue some lady writes in asking for advice because she has fallen madly in love with her husband's best friend. Apparently she has never felt this way before about anyone. And though they haven't yet had sex, they've kissed and cuddled plenty. Oh, and she and her husband have a new daughter. So. Advice-giver. What should she do?

I was at least glad that the 'Advice-Giver' laid into her pretty good (it's strange, but I usually find they're much less critical of women than of men). But after reading it I was so upset. I was furious. One guy who was sitting in front of me asked if I was alright. I think my face was pretty red. I don't think there is anything that makes me both physically sicker to my stomach and just pissed off as hearing about people cheating on their spouses.

I'm not sure where the anger comes from. I've never been married, and technically never really had anyone 'cheat' on me (though I've not been in much of a position to have that happen, though I've been through something I'd consider close enough as I'd ever want to be). But there is something so...fundamentally twisted about it that makes me even more cynical about marriage/relationships than I already am.

I've been doing good the last few months, in regards to how I feel about marriage and the like. I've gone from whatever to super critical and back to whatever. I felt like I was making progress these last few months about how I felt about 'love'. Like, for example, that it's possible to love someone and spend the rest of your life with them. I was becoming convinced. I was letting go of my cynicism. I was actually starting to look forward to it.

And then, in a matter of a few days, I stumble across story after story of infidelity and divorce and pain and hurt and anger and brokenness and disillusionment -- and all of my positive vibes about love and marriage were swept away by the tidal wave of reality. And I see these 'Christians' protesting gay-marriage in the name of 'protecting' marriage (and my feelings about that I will leave alone for now) and I think to myself, what in the world are they defending? What is there to defend?! How can a group of people who share the same percentage of divorces as everyone else have the audacity to stand up and say they're "defending" marriage? You actually believe that picket you hold means jack all?! Give me a break.

It just sets my blood on fire, all this crap about people falling in love with someone else, leaving their families and destroying lives. All because they've got hormones pumping through their veins and they don't have the brain power to control themselves.

Are there any people of loyalty out there anymore?! Does anyone know what it means to stick with a person because they promised, that no matter what, they would? Is anyone trustworthy anymore? Is anyone even up for such responsibility? All these marriages. So little guts.

It disgusts me.

Two drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff...

...ba dum, ksh!

I've been having a good week. Life just feels good for once in a long time. I feel content. I really do. I like where I'm at, what I'm doing, the general sway of things, as it were. I feel energized. I feel like smiling. There are probably a few reasons for it. One of them being having a new friend. Friends are good things to have. They'll save you from the worst of times (as all of my friends have proven -- even if they don't know it). Other reasons may be...well, I don't want to over-analyze my good week. I think the sun is less enjoyable when you're staring directly at it. I think my week will feel less enjoyable if I'm staring straight at it also. Call me crazy.

Anyone heard the new Coldplay CD?! Geeeeez. I absolutely love it. See, I was really skeptical about it. I kept hearing their single, The Speed of Sound, on the radio -- and developed a loathing for it. Sure, not as much as I hate hearing Green Day & the Killers now -- but I just hear it so often, it gets on my nerves (though the radio in general is fast becoming my metaphorical fork in the eyeball). It seemed so ... mediocre. It didn't seem like a step up from their last CD. It isn't a bad song, just not very impressive. Anyway, I decided just to buy the new one and take a risk. Turns out to be amazing. And I think their single is the only one I'm not really enjoying all that much. If you don't have, well my friends, you need it. I mean, need it like you need hair on your chest. Er. Well, more than that. Because you really don't need hair on your chest (that's you, ladies).

I've been reading Lamentations this week. Weird book to read when you're having a good week, I know. Or is it? It's actually really encouraging. I posted one of my favourite chunks of Scripture from Lamentations the other day (which you can see below for your Scripture-viewing convenience). Just a crazy book. I remember hearing people talk about how much of a whiner the guy was. Yet I'm reading it and I'm thinking, "He isn't whining. He's in pain -- he's tormented because of his circumstances." Writing from the heart, writing from the depths of despair is one of the most amazing things I find in the Bible. You see David and the psalm-writers do it throughout the Psalms. You see it all over the Bible. These are people who are going through what looks like Hell to them, and their words, however poetic and brutal they may be, are all they have. But what I find so amazing is how they can write about such pain and misery and desperation and then all of a sudden remember who God is, and what He can and will do. I love that part of Lamentations in 3:21 where he says, "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope". Man. 'Yet this...' I love those two words. Yet this. My life feels like hell, everything is going wrong, there's a storm in my head and I can't escape it -- Yet This. Yet This I remember. God is with me. God is my Rescuer, My Protector, My Comforter, My Shield, My Redeemer, My Strong Tower, My Help In Time Of Need, My Hope, My Father.

Lamentations 3:21-32

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

Birthday's are funny. I mean, really, it's like everyone is saying, "Happy Birthday! You lived through another year -- here's hoping you survive one more!" It's like a mini-celebration that death hasn't gotcha yet. Life is good. Death is bad. Here's a cake. Which may or may not lead to your demise.

Last week on the way home from work I had these intense urges to do crazy things with my car. It was a weird experience. I mean, I'm the sort of guy that when someone suggests doing something crazy/funny (you know, like those "50 Things To Do In Wal-Mart" lists?) I laugh and think, "Yeah that would be funny! But I could never do it." Well last week I had these serious tempations to do a few nuts-o things (that would most certainly get me into trouble) and I had to literally will myself not to do them. But I had a few good laughs.

For example, at one point on my way home the road turns into two lanes. Well, at that point I was driving the speed limit (because at that time of night there are a lot of cops around) and there was a car sticking pretty close to me. When we got to the two lanes the car passed me -- and it turned out that it was a cop afterall. My first reaction was relief -- that I hadn't sped up. But my immediate thought following that was how funny it would be to lay on the pedal and fly passed him -- he was only going a few km's/h faster than me. I just started laughing and then noticed I was speeding up! I had to conciously force myself to not do it, arguging that I couldn't afford a ticket (or an insurance hike).

The second thing was only a little ways further up the road. Going through this one city, there is a bend in the road and on the corner is a pub. On that particular night there was a group of young people (well, my age anyway) standing on the corner talking. I all of a sudden had this insane desire to swerve towards them and lay on the horn, and then pull away at the last second. I was laughing so hard when I passed them -- for some reason I just had this perfect mental image of their expressions. But then I realized one of them might jump in a car and chase me. So I decided against it.

I realize as I write this you may be thinking that I shouldn't have my license. But the lesson here is that I didn't do it. And also that such antics have never crossed my mind before. So there.

This is the birthday card that my sister's boyfriend, Joseph, gave to me. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. I mean, look at that guy's expression! Oh geez. I'm still laughing.

Read this article. It scares me and encourages me all at the same time.

If Abraham Lincoln used PowerPoint, this is probably what the Gettysburg Address would have looked like. Really loses something, I think...

Gettysburg Cemetery Dedication

It's been super hot this week. I mean, hot hot. Sauna hot.

This week I work from 3-11pm. Which means when I'm driving to work at 2pm, the sun is blazing. It's so hot I have the window down and my arm hanging out -- hoping to get some relief from the burning flames of hellish weather. On Monday I get to work, go into the bathroom, am washing my hands, look up and notice that one of my arms is darker than the other. What the...?! In a one hour drive I'd already gotten a noticeable tan! But on one arm only!

Forgetting about it the next day (Tuesday) I drive to work, go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and realize -- oh no -- it's gotten even darker! Man. I have three more shifts this week, and it's supposed to be hot every day. I'm going to be very lopsided.

Well, I am house sitting out in the boonies this weekend, with no internet. It's a very funny feeling not being "connected". They have a few channels on the ol' TV, and yesterday I happened to catch a bit of this technology show. Anyway, they had a lady on it, a professor from the University of Calgary, and she was talking about how big of an impact technology has on us, and how for the most part, no one really thinks about. Yet it influences what and how we learn, how we interact with people, how we respond to things, etc. It was really interesting (even though from how I described it it probably sounds lame-o). But I really wondered about it -- I mean, I take the internet, the cell phone, all these little things, for granted. If I don't have e-mail I feel like I'm out of touch with reality. Crazy! I mean, this stuff has only been around for a few years (grade 7 was the first time I'd heard about "CD-Roms" -- ooooouuu!). But without it I feel like my life is meaningless (ok, maybe that's an exaggeration -- but certainly alienated). That can't be healthy.

Which leads me to what I was originally going to post about. A friend from the Relevant Magazine message boards (seriously, great people, great community -- go check it out, see if you can find me!) sent me this book he had read and recommended, called The Way To Love by Anthony De Mello. So, if a guy I've never met in real life is willing to send me a free book, it's gotta be good. It's a pretty tiny book (fits into the palm of my hand -- and I have small hands) but it's like eating a gourmet meal, starting with a giant steak. The thing is blowing my mind. I feel like every time I pick it up, I am consciously changing the way I think and look at the world. It's amazing. I'm at my house right now, and the book is back at the place where I'm staying until tomorrow, so I can't quote for you what I had intended to quote. I'll have to get at it tomorrow or Tuesday. But for real, incredible book.

Oh yeah, and if you haven't checked out that movie I posted the other day, do it! It's so funny. A young adult group from a church in the States made it.

the sounds of music

the reading rainbow

  • A Generous Orthodoxy
    Brian McLaren
  • Brave New World
    Aldous Huxley
  • Catcher In the Rye
    J.D. Salinger
  • Smoke & Mirrors
    Neil Gaiman

motion pictures

people i spy on

internet tourism

recent gibberish

ancient history